I think we can all agree that seeing an ex is an unpleasant experience. This is true whether it’s an ex-hookup who has seen you physically naked, or an ex-significant-other who has seen you both physically AND emotionally naked. Whether you ended things badly or amicably. Whether you’ve ‘moved on’ or not. No matter the circumstances, this situation is pretty high up on my list of ‘things I’d rather not do,’ right between plucking out my eyelashes one by one and angering the hulk-looking woman toting a yoga mat and a basket of whey protein around Whole Foods. Who knew kale could make a woman so strong?
However, unless you are one of those lucky folks with the job flexibility to move to a different continent every time you go through a breakup, you are in danger. It lurks around every corner, in both the unflattering fluorescent light of the metro and the hidden corners of nightclubs. Therefore, I have compiled this handy guide on how to handle a run-in with your ex. You can thank me later.
1. At the grocery store
There you are, meandering down the wine aisle in the sweats you’ve been wearing for the past two days (is there any other acceptable grocery shopping attire?), trying to find the white that has the highest alcohol percentage, when you spot a flash of an orange jacket down the lane. His orange jacket. Your breath catches in your throat as you remember why you swore off shopping at this grocery store. Yes, it has the best selection of Hot Pockets, but it’s ALSO RIGHT BY HIS APARTMENT.
You look down, surveying the damage. There’s a pizza stain on your right boob, and cat hair adorns the entirety of your front (hey, you needed something to get you through those lonely nights!). Your cart looks like the Pillsbury dough boy and Ben&Jerry all had a magical love affair, and your attempt at ‘balance’ by stuffing the remainder of your cart with 3 for $10 Lean Cuisines screams “no, I haven’t found someone else, hahahaWHYDOYOUASKhahaha.”
You can’t speak to him like this. Not today, Satan.
Solution: Silently grab the two closest bottles of wine (for backup, of course) and summon all the grace you acquired in those ballet lessons you both started and quit at age four. Make your way quietly to the feminine products aisle. Do NOT pass go, do NOT collect $200. Boys are genetically programmed to avoid this aisle at all costs. He’ll never find you there. Try to blend in with a wall of vibrant pink tampon boxes until the coast is clear. This could take up to two hours, but you know you weren’t actually going to go to the gym today. A couple hours without pizza rolls could do you some good.
2. At the office
I actually don’t feel too obligated to help you with this one, because as I’ve said before, DON’T DATE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH. DON’T DO IT. Don’t do it.
Bitch, you still did it?! Smh. Fine.
So, here’s the situation. You’re standing in the office kitchen, slaving over a hot Flavia machine and generally avoiding work, when a curly-haired hunk walks in. All of a sudden, you’re struck with a wave of deja vu. Where have I seen this guy before? Orientation? Was he at that traini- Oh, FUCK.
Yep. It’s the bro in Accounting you hooked up with after the last company happy hour. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES. And now he wants to come talk. Fuck fuck fuck.
Solution: Luckily, you are a very important and busy person. As he greets you, exclaim very loudly that “I have a very important meeting in 15 seconds and cannot be bothered with your idle chit chat!” To emphasize this point, grab your cup out from under the Flavia machine as it is still percolating, letting a stream of hot coffee flow directly onto the counter. Swig the remaining dregs of coffee, fight through the burning sensation in your mouth, and crush the cup under your stiletto (nice shoe choice!). Use your heel to flip the cup* into the trash can and bolt, leaving said bro in stunned silence. Boom. Roasted.
*It bears saying that this task requires immense amounts of foot-eye coordination and grace. There is always a risk that you will end up flipping the cup into the back of your own head, or at the senior manager who is innocently removing her Chobani from the fridge. Proceed at your own risk.
3. At a party
It’s a Friday night, and you’ve been dragged out of your apartment against your will by your friends who ‘hate to see you staying in all the time’ and ‘are concerned that you haven’t eaten anything but Cheez-Its for the past week.’ What’s wrong with some cheese and carbs?! You have thrown on clothing in your spirit color (black) that meets the minimum requirement for going out (i.e. you are literally wearing athletic leggings), forced back three shots of tequila, and are feeling pretty good about yourself… until you and the squad roll up to Lost Society and end up in line RIGHT BEHIND YOUR EX. AND HIS NEW GIRL. You try to tuck and roll back into the Uber, but your friends form a wall, blocking all attempts at a ‘Red Rover’ maneuver.
You beg. You plead. You grovel. (All done in an awkward silent mime act, remember, said fuckboy is just inches in front of you). No avail. You’re going to Lost Society whether you like it or not. Just when you’ve said your last prayer that he doesn’t notice you, he turns around.
Fuckboy – Hey! How’s it going?
You – *attempts at speaking, lack of words, awkward thumbs up*
F – …haha, cool. Hey, have you met Victoria?
Y – *laser vision activated*
Y – *remember you’re not actually a superhero*
Yikes. Things are going downhill faster than a wagon full of fat kids.
Solution: Grab the closest cute boy in your vicinity. Although you usually wouldn’t go for anything less than an 8, a 6 or above will suffice due to the dire needs of the situation. Invent a name for said boy. Brock? Nah, too Pokemon. Weston? Too… bougie. Paxton? Perfect.
Y – Ah, Victoria! Nice to meet you! This is my new boyfriend, Paxton. We met at his father’s country club. Paxton is an investment banker and the heir to a Texas oil baron. And he has a puppy. Scratch that – TWO puppies. Huskies. That’s right, two husky puppies. Isn’t that right, Paxton?
‘P’ – You’re hot, whatever.
F – Oh… ok… well, good to see you’re moving on…
Y – Victoria, I hope you’ve gotten tested!
Then stride off, thank Paxton for his time, and reject his attempts to get your phone number. He’s a 7. You can do better.
4. In your texts
Solution: “New phone, who dis?”
Done and done.
There you have it! Now you can face the world, head held high, plans to enter the Witness Protection Program tabled.
But seriously, DON’T DATE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH.